TREND 1: The Brand Strategy Trend
Brands finally get community right (with the support of creators)
As the tide on social media swings away from glitzy mega-influencers towards smaller and more real groups, businesses that work strategically with artists are engaging with new audiences, winning their confidence, and acquiring cultural capital.
Digital communities have never been richer, more vibrant, and more powerful on our experience of daily life than they are now. And nowhere are these groups being created—and catered to—more than on social media.
Over a billion Facebook users routinely engage within groups.
This should all be excellent news for marketers, right? Building a community of ravenous customers around their product is every brand’s goal. But the most spectacularly successful brand communities you see online have been established over time by large brands with loads of resources. And although social media allows any business online the potential to build a following, that doesn’t inevitably translate into a truly engaged and active community.
In 2022, the key to unlocking online communities (no matter the size of your organization) is in the hands of digital innovators.
Whether it’s chef Joshua Weissman bringing home chefs to YouTube or streamers like Tyler Blevins drawing Fortnite devotees to Twitch streams, creators offer richness and value to previously existent interest groups.
people over the world consider themselves to be “creators”
And practically every major social network has gone on the creator train, offering features to help creators commercialize their work, or creator funds to pay them directly. Across Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, and Snapchat—there is no shortage of methods for creators to establish and sustain their communities, or for brands to support them.
TREND 2: The Social Advertising Trend
Marketers get creative as consumers wise up to social adverts
Marketers will be spending more on social advertisements in 2022—but to stand out, they’ll have to work harder to produce ads that mimic and enhance the genuine experience each social network offers.
Despite marketing budgets tightening for many firms, more than half (51.4 percent ) of the 18,100 marketers we surveyed claimed that they’re aiming to boost their paid social spend in 2022. But where—and how—should that money be spent?
According to our Social Trends poll, marketers have clear plans to invest more in Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn this year. But where it becomes fascinating is outside these tried and true methods. The highest gains in spend relative to last year will be going towards TikTok, Pinterest, and Snapchat.
Why are marketers intending to invest more in networks that haven’t usually been the biggest priority? Because they’re finding them more successful for accomplishing business goals than they have in the past.
In 2022, ad-weary consumers will urge advertisers to pick up their game.
Not only are these social networks growing at amazing rates (TikTok just hit 1 billion subscribers, NBD) research is revealing that consumers may potentially be more open to advertising on these networks as well.
Why? For starters, social networks aren’t inundated with brands to the same degree as Facebook or Instagram are (…yet). But a more plausible reason—and an essential takeaway for marketers when it comes to advertising everywhere on social—is the fact that these networks push advertisers to develop content that fits naturally into the platforms. TikTok’s whole brand-facing side relies on the phrase “Don’t make advertising. Make TikTok videos.” “Stop interrupting.” is Pinterest’s advertising call to action. Begin by inspiring.” In addition, Snapchat urges advertisers to “become a part of Snapchatters’ daily chats.”
Simply said, no one wants their experience on any social network disrupted by adverts from brands that are as uninteresting as they are self-serving. Brands that advertise successfully on these networks understand that audience mentality is crucial.
Consumers are pushing brands to a higher bar when it comes to creativity—but they’re also rewarding those who get it right. Brands who want to stand out in 2022 will have to work harder to generate ads that mimic and complement the particular experience given by each social network.
TREND 3: The ROI Trend
Social silently matures out of the marketing department
As marketers get more assured in calculating the ROI of their efforts on social media, great performers are spreading the love across the rest of their business.
For over a decade, marketing leaders have battled to quantitatively link social media to business outcomes. Now, after being forced to rely on social more during the epidemic as a core channel for keeping up with clients, managing service demands, and making sales—it seems something has connected.
This year, 83 percent of marketers in our poll indicated having some level of confidence in estimating the ROI of their social initiatives, up from 68 percent previous year.
What’s driving this rise in confidence? There’s been plenty of enhancements to marketing attribution tools given by both the social networks and social media management suppliers (including ourselves) (including ourselves). But part of the answer also rests in the rising readiness of marketers to shift away from outdated attribution models and mindsets. The few organizations (14 percent ) who are particularly confident in assessing their ROI are looking at the holistic value of social media on their marketing practices—beyond just direct sales and conversions.
In 2022, executives will be pushing social’s value beyond marketing.
According to our poll, the number one priority in 2022 for firms extremely confident in quantifying the ROI of social is “expanding its impact on other departments.” So where do high-performing teams perceive the biggest opportunity? Protecting their brands, lowering organizational risk, and delivering richer experiences for their people.
Organizations that told us they wanted to utilize social to “improve the employee experience” grew from 4 percent last year to 20 percent this year. Likewise, firms looking to utilize social for “brand protection and risk mitigation” grew from 5 percent last year to 20 percent this year. Important aims as employers cope with the Great Resignation and brands get held to higher and higher standards in public.
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Bold businesses in 2022 will buff up their employee advocacy programs, get better at leveraging social to acquire consumer insights, and seek to produce the kind of impact they’ve seen social have on their marketing elsewhere in their company.
Also read: How to Become a Digital Marketer
TREND 4: The Social Commerce Trend
Social becomes the center of the post- pandemic purchasing experience
While the brick-and-mortar business lives on, it’s obvious social commerce isn’t going anywhere. In 2022, small companies will expand the consumer experience across social storefronts while major corporations will push the limits of the online purchasing experience.
Before the epidemic, social commerce was a dazzling new potential being tested out by some of the biggest, most imaginative retail companies. Then, well, you know. As millions more people in lockdown across the world began shopping online for items big and little, frivolous and essential—social commerce swiftly became a way of life.
Small companies relied on social marketplaces to continue serving their IRL clientele and establish important new cash sources. Larger organizations were compelled to redefine how consumers interact with their brands—and build creative, exclusive, social-first customer experiences that drive online sales.
“Social used to be just a satellite of the business, an extension of the brand’s voice,” according to Étienne Mérineau, cofounder of conversational AI platform Heyday (which was just acquired by Hootsuite) (which was recently acquired by Hootsuite). “Now it is the brand’s voice. It is its fundamental platform to engage with, sell to, and service customers.”
In 2022, social commerce will be an opportunity no firm can afford to miss.
Almost two years later, the rise of social commerce shows no signs of abating.Shoppers on social media aren’t just scrolling feeds and clicking “buy now” buttons on sponsored ads for consumer packaged products. They’re using social media for every stage of the purchase journey, across practically every product category.
Social networks are now the second most significant avenue for online brand research after search engines, according to Hootsuite and We Are Social’s Digital 2021 report. What’s more, if we look at those aged 16 to 24, social networks actually rate even higher than search engines like Google when it comes to brand research.
In 2022, local businesses will try to extend the experience customers have with their brands across social storefronts and real-life, while giant organizations go big exploring the limits of the online purchasing experience.
Also read: Best Digital Marketing Books in India 2022
TREND 5: The Customer Care Trend
Social marketers save their brands from the customer care apocalypse
Amid stalling global supply chains and workforce shortages, many firms may expect an inflow of no-so-happy consumers in 2022. Meanwhile, demand for customer assistance on social has been growing. Social media managers now find themselves in an ideal position to play the hero and navigate their businesses through the upheaval.
Social marketers, if you feel like your job description has enlarged over the past year, you’re not alone. Spurred on by lockdowns and disruptive adjustments in business operations, we’ve seen social marketers take on increasing responsibility for managing an avalanche of customer service requests.
Anyone expecting this to lessen as the pandemic wanes is in for an unpleasant awakening. Massive surges in consumer demand have thrown the global shipping sector into a chokehold at ports throughout the world, making it practically difficult for businesses to fulfill orders. Meanwhile, labor shortages are sweeping worldwide marketplaces, leaving fewer people to deliver bloated orders intended for soon-to-be-disappointed customers.
A customer service apocalypse is upon us. And by 2022, social media will be on the front lines.
Consumers, bored up with waiting on hold, have learned that assistance offered via social is immediate, convenient, and effective. In a Nielsen survey commissioned by Facebook, 64 percent of individuals said they now prefer to message rather than phone a business. The demand on organizations to adapt to as many digital customer service channels as possible is sky-high.
Businesses are beginning to consider social as a critical customer service channel, with 59 percent of respondents in our Social Trends 2022 poll saying that social customer care has improved in value for their firm.
In 2022, company executives will look on social marketers to take a greater role in customer service. Pioneering social marketers will break from their departmental silos to create deeper inroads with customer service teams and take greater agency in delivering customer care.